Category Archives: Commentary

Church by Evolution


Parson to Person

William Andrew Dillard

There are some things that are easy to believe, but difficult to prove. In fact, most things in the spirit world are that way to the carnal mind. It is the intent of this short article to draw attention to the folly of New Testament church existence by evolution. Please think with me for a moment.
Most Baptists readily agree that a New Testament church cannot be divorced from its membership. Therefore, the qualifications of each church member become all important to the spiritual status of the local body to which he belongs. As the members go, so goes the church for better or worse.
It is equally agreed among non-Protestant Baptist churches that the new birth experience and deep water baptism by the authority of the church is essential, constituting the prerequisites to church membership. By these things, and the fulfillment of the other parts of the Great Commission churches are kept separate from the world, from false religion, and in an acceptable state to enjoy the blessings of the Almighty in word, and in deed.
With all this being said, it is recognized that there are a lot of “Speckled Bird” churches in Baptist ranks today. Some are “planted” by men who care little for the fundamentals of the faith once delivered to the saints. Some are socio-religious gatherings that “evolve” into a “church.” This method was used by the Wesley brothers, but their production was not a New Testament church.
Then there are those who pick no bones about their disdain for the Baptist heritage. They refuse to use the Baptist name, and think to create a church by some sort of deception, deception I say because they still want to claim scriptural Baptist status. Humm. does that not sound much like so many who call themselves “non-denominational” or “Usta-Wazer Baptists? That former title is an oxymoron simply because non-denomination is a denomination with reference to type or kind.
So, the questions remains. Might a group of people, two or three or more, achieve a non-profit charter to claim tax exemption engage in religious activity, and thereby grow into a bona fide New Testament church regardless of their prerequisites? More precisely stated, may a group of religious minded people evolve into a New Testament church?
When the Word is followed, only those who are endowed with the new birth, and scriptural, deep water baptism administered by a bona fide church of the Lord, may constitute a church that is recognized and blessed of heaven. Such is the perpetuation of the baptism of John (heaven-sent baptism). There may be many ceremonial washings and dips, but there is only one baptism of John. So, a church by evolution? That is biblically unknown, and in the end worthless.

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THE CHURCH GOING GENERATION


Parson to Person

William Andrew Dillard

From early days, the United States of America has been generally know by the world as a Christian nation. To be sure there were many times and episodes in its history that would bring that idea into question. Still, following the great revivals of the early 19th century, that label largely stuck, more predominately in the Southern Bible belt than in the other regions. This will draw some flack, but here me out.
A few years ago, the then president of the United States stood before a gathering of leaders from many nations and forthrightly declared that America was NOT a Christian nation. A fire storm of repudiation ensued from folks at home.
I shall refrain from the many temptations of digression that present themselves in order to advance the greater purpose in mind. Could he have been correct? I think it all depends upon what one considers a Christian to be.
To perhaps 90% of what is called the “Christian World” the definition of a Christian is one who confesses that Jesus is the Son of God. Repentance from sin and faith in Him brings eternal salvation to the spirit of the individual. But Faith in God has wrought individual salvation since Eden, and none of the Old Testament saints are biblically known as Christians. What are we to make of it all? Please think with me!
The disciples of Jesus were first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11). They did not name themselves that, but the general populace dubbed them with that title. They were a Greek speaking people and knew exactly what they were saying and meaning. It is dedicated discipleship (followership) by which those saved people were recognized and entitled.
The disciples at Antioch were 1) saved by grace through faith; 2) baptized by the first church by immersion in water; 3) honored the Word of God by teaching the biblical landmarks that guided their life, these included the above plus eternal security of the believer, and the authority of the church to spread the gospel, and administer the ordinances Jesus put into His church . As one is dedicated to these things and grows in the Word, he will be a New Testament Christian. Did this just decimate the popular idea of Christianity? Doubtless!
When folks align themselves with a religious organization without thought or research of the Biblical model, they become a Christian in colloquial name only, and are devoid of any meaningful honesty with their Creator as it is revealed in His eternal Word. Evangelism is reduced to an invitation to “our church” and its programs rather than to the all important, individual, relationship with God both in salvation and in dedicated, acceptable service.
Maybe, just maybe that Muslim pleasing president was unwittingly right. Simply put, a nation of churchgoers does not a Christian make!

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YOUR MOTHER AND MINE


HEBREW HONEYCOMB
YOUR MOTHER AND MINE

William Andrew Dillard

In the theological world it is often stated how mixed up folks are about the subject of brotherhood and its meaning. But if one thinks that to be a problem, just consider how mixed up so-called churches are about motherhood!


The status of motherhood has been on the rise for the last two thousand years. Jesus elevated it to its proper position, but as with most everything else, man takes it where it does not belong. Kooky ideas in the 21st Century about feminism in general and motherhood in particular abound. Media is filled with the exaltation of feminism, even to the extreme of subjugating masculinity, unless that too resides in a female. But try as they will, men will never totally pervert God’s creation order and purpose. Godly women find the ultimate of feminine contentment and joy in their God-given roles, even if modern times cause those roles to change somewhat. In this writer’s house, the men are men and the women are glad of it! Conversely, women are women and the men are glad of it.


But let this subject go on into the religious realm specifically. Catholicism has done much to bring shame on the Son of God, and Mary, His earthly mother, by exalting her above Him. Hence, prayers are offered to Mary who is palmed off as a perpetual virgin, and the scriptures show that to be a blatant lie. But, of course, they say, everybody knows if you want to get something from someone, contact his mother. Really!


This article is about motherhood and our mother in particular. Are you staying with me?
When the original cosmos created by God was cast down, an unwritten controversy over the earth between the two supernatural powers undoubtedly occurred. Therefore, in the reconstruction, the earth would be allowed to speak for itself. For that to happen, the earth would of necessity have to bring forth an offspring who could speak, think, and make decisions regarding it. It was to this end that mankind was taken from the earth and made a living soul with those capacities.


In the ancient Hebrew language a word that describes man taken from the earth is “Yelid.” This word literally means and is so translated in other places, “to give birth to.” So, the earth is consistently referenced as “Mother Earth.” She is indeed your mother and mine. From it we were taken, and to it we shall return, even as the spirit within us was given of God, and will return to Him.


It is the purpose of man then to make good decisions regarding his mother Earth, including all her children. The first man failed so utterly, but the second Adam succeeded. To Him the Earth looks, as well as all her children who are saved from that terrible sin, and more specifically their own. Are you honoring your mother by honoring Him?

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Hello Belshazzar


HELLO BELSHAZZAR
Parson to Person

William Andrew Dillard

Belshazzar was blessed to be king of the first great beast of empire. In prophecy, his kingdom (Babylon) was likened unto a lion in beast symbolism, and the golden head of the statue of empires seen in a kingly dream and interpreted by the prophet Daniel.
His story is a repetitive one both before and after him. It is the story of sinful, foolish pride being a downfall. A modern rendition of that is herewith given.
“Hello, Belshazzar! You are the son of the first great king, Nebuchadnezzar. Remember? He was the king from whom sanity was withdrawn so that he ran with the beast of the field, ate straw like an ox, and grew long nails as claws until he learned that El Elyon (the Most High God) rules in the governments of men and appoints whom He will over it. I say, remember? because you knew this.
Hello, Belshazzar! You are king, but you have not humbled your heart before God. Instead, you have elected to be exalted and praised by a thousand of your lords, and you have called for the sanctified vessels of the Temple of God in Jerusalem to pollute them as wine glasses in your sinful party.
Hello, Belshazzar! It is you to whom the writing hand has written on the wall in your presence. So, “keep your gifts O, King, and let your rewards go to another,” said God’s man, Daniel. “I will read the writing unto the king and make known to him the interpretation.
This is the writing: Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin. This is the interpretation of it. Mene; God has numbered your kingdom, and it is over. Tekel; You are weighed in the balances and have come up short. Peres; Your kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.”
History reveals that Babylon was thought to be impenetrable. Its walls were some 80 high and wide enough at the top for chariots to pass. It was the ultimate in human security. . . or, was it?
For sometime, unknown to dwellers in Babylon, the Meads and Persians had worked upstream to dam the Euphrates river which ran through Babylon. In the night of Belshazzar’s final ball of self glory, the water had diminished below the bars that extended from the city wall into the river. The Meads and Persians used that entryway in mass, and took over the city state with ease. In that same night Belshazzar was slain and Darius took over the kingdom being about 62 year old.
It is said that those who forget history are doomed to relive it. Common observation of society shows no change for the better over time. Repetitious, prideful and disastrous falling from a myriad of modern Babylons and Belshazzars abound.
So, let the Daniels and their wisdom also abound. Jesus the only triumphant Savior is the singular stone of help. Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken, but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. Friend, what is your preference: Salvation or judgment? Hello . . . .!

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The Mystery of Iniquity


HEBREW HONEYCOMB
THE MYSTERY OF INIQUITY

William Andrew Dillard

A songwriter once penned these words: “Troublesome times are here, filling men’s hearts with fear; freedoms we all hold dear now is at stake . . .” When one looks at the political arena, it appears little above mass confusion. When one looks at the religious scene it is void of most of the Bible teachings. When one looks at the economical stage, it is so tenuous as to cause men’s hearts to fail. If all this seems to paint a bleak picture of today’s world, it is meant to do so. But there is more, much more!
The crumbling foundation of the family unit leaves children without parents, or in some cases single parents. Then the demands of the workplace leave little time for children who are largely abandoned to a latchkey position to formulate their own distorted views of life. Each ensuing generation is in an ever worsening condition. What is it all about. What is happening to the world we live in?
Certainly, these are times so often and well prophesied by God’s Word. It would seem a time for the masses to hear the clarion call of the gospel. It should be a time of widespread repentance, of men seeking the will of the Lord with a contrite heart. But just the opposite is the mainstream of life. What is one to make of it all?
The apostle Paul informed us of these times. He wrote in 2 Thessalonians 2:7, “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let until he be taken out of the way.” Think about it!
The “Mystery of Iniquity.” The term “Mystery” is from the ancient Greek term, “Musterion.” It derives it existence from a base word “Muo” which basically means “To shut the mouth.” Hence, a mystery is something known to the initiated, but unknown to the uninitiated. It remains a mystery to those unqualified and unwilling to search out and know the meaning. “Iniquity” is a translation of the Greek word “Law” (nomous) with a negative prefix, to literally translate “no law.” It means not given to or ruled by law ; contempt and violation of law, wickedness. This is aptly descriptive of modern times, but they will worsen because there is a restraining power who lets (restrains) until he be taken out of the way, so that ultimate chaos may prevail.
The so-called progress of humanity apart from God has led to the abolition of world war; the vaunted progress of medical science has led to longer life spans, and as the world struggles to balance trade, unite religious movements, and to feed the bulging population creating population shifts of illegal migration, the world ripens for the ultimate rule of its god. His predetermined end of it all is destruction in many forms, but the final stage will be Armageddon. It is a millenniums long plan that will go down in eternal defeat for all evil. Sweet in the mouth, but bitter in the stomach.

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6 Reasons You’ll Regret Why You Left the Lord’s Church


ABApologetics.org

W.A. Dillard

My article for ABApologetics this week is written by Pastor Johnny Williams. It is so true and so highly practical. Consider what he is saying here.

6 Reasons You’ll Regret Why You Left the Lord’s Church
by Pastor Johnny Williams

Both joining a church and leaving a church are serious business — business for which those involved will give an account before God. Here are six illegitimate reasons for leaving a scriptural New Testament church I have heard over the years.

1. Because our children want to go to another church (quite often that ‘other church’ is an unscriptural one with lots of ‘glitter’ but no ‘gold’). – The most spiritually immature (presumably) members of the family should not single-handedly make the most important decision facing afamily and their eternal destiny.

2. Because there aren’t many people here my age. – The church is not a social club, but the gathering of sinners saved by grace. The world should be at odds to explain the church. It should wonder, “What is it
that brings together such a diverse collection of people in such a tight bond of love?”
3. Because I don’t like the music. – The ‘contemporary vs. traditional type of music’ question is usually wrongheaded, in my opinion. Of greater importance is the question: What is the content of the songs being sung? Is the church singing good theology or merely good feel-ology?

4. Because the pastor’s sermons are too long. – Preaching is the central act of Christian worship and should receive the lion’s share of the time. Many churches are a mile wide but only an inch deep due to the teachings they’ve accepted as biblical truth!

5. Because they don’t have a good youth/children’s program here. Parents are the spiritual caretakers for the children. The church should merely reinforce the biblical truths taught in the home. No church pro-
gram will adequately shepherd our children; that is the calling of parents, particularly fathers.

6. Because the worship/preaching is boring. – The aim of worship is God’s glory, not our amusement. The Lord’s church is not to entertain the crowds but to train the saints to best honor Christ — period! 

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Sell Me This Power


HEBREW HONEYCOMB
SELL ME THIS POWER

William Andrew Dillard

In biblical Christianity there is power! Saints sing of it often in such hymns as “There Is Power In The Blood.” Repentant lost people rejoice in it at the altar of their heart. Saints who are wise reject the time consuming offerings of the world in order to know Him and the POWER of His resurrection as did St. Paul as he told the Philippians.
Jesus said that all power is consolidated in Him as He commissioned the church in Matthew 28:18-20. Just before ascending, He told His church that they would receive power after that the Holy Ghost was come upon them. According to Acts 2, they certainly did. But it was not a temporary power. It was an age long power to be resident in New Testament churches; power sufficient to bring them through the age with the proper testimony of God, and His love for the world.
But power is one of the objects of the sinful, greedy world which sees material advancement as the purpose of life. Thus the very existence of understood power draws men either to God and Salvation or to Satan and the ladder of materialism and creature comforts.
Such was the case of one Simon the sorcerer as noted in Acts 8. It is interesting to note that Simon was a long time practitioner of sorcery. Doubtless, he accumulated a considerable amount of wealth with it. However, the introduction of Bible Christianity in Samaria was mightily blessed of God so that many were saved and baptized. Make of this what you will, the Bible declares that Simon also was saved and baptized. Simon then continued with Philip, drawn by the miracles which he did.
Some days later Peter and John were dispatched from Jerusalem to Samaria who prayed for them, and laid hands upon them, and they received the Holy Spirit that had come upon the church in Acts 2. Simon was impressed, so impressed that he offered the apostles money to have their power conferred upon him. Peter minced no words rejecting the request, and directing him to repent of such wickedness, 8:22-24.
Unarguably, the apostolic years were filled with extraordinary displays of holy power as credentials of holy men in the absence of the New Testament. But with its completion, focus is shifted more precisely upon the church of the Living God. It is the pillar and ground of the truth under the constriction of the Holy Spirit and the eternal Word. In these things there is staying, aggressive, authoritative, energetic power from heaven. Surely, the world remains filled with satanic inspired charlatans, who emulate Simon saying, sell me this power that I may accumulate wealth through deception. But, as it was then, so it is now. The gifts and calling of God may be only enjoyed God’s way. They are not for sale.

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Positive for the Lord


John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!” He was a natural motivator.

If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, “I don’t get it! You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?”

He replied, “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life! I choose the positive side of life.”

“Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,” I protested.

“Yes, it is,” he said. “Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live your life.”

I reflected on what he said. Soon thereafter, I left the company we worked at to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it.

Several years later, I heard that he was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, he was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back.

I happened to run into him about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, “If I were any better, I’d be twins. Wanna see my scars?”

I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.

“The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter,” he replied. “Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live.”

“Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness?” I asked.

He continued, “..the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read ‘he’s a dead man.’ I knew I needed to take action.”

“What did you do?” I asked.

“Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me,” said John. “She asked if I was allergic to anything. ‘Yes,’ I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, ‘Gravity!'”

Over their laughter, I told them, “I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.”

He lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34).

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BLINDERS ON-BLINDERS OFF


HEBREW HONEYCOMB

William Andrew Dillard
BLINDERS ON-BLINDERS OFF

There are seeing folks who are blind, and there are blind folks who see! Pity the former, for there are none so blind as those who will not see. Their kind is described well in Acts 28:27, “For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” A common tactic of Satan is to instill fear of the unknown in the hearts of men, and induce them to blind their own eyes to spiritual reality.
Memories of childhood recall times when dad had a mule or two for plowing and other domestic chores. To get one of them to cross a creek on a very sturdy bridge was tricky. Most of the time success was achieved only when blinders were applied and the animal coaxed to follow its leader. Otherwise, the green pasture just ahead was obscured by the possible pitfall. How many animals have perished in barn fires because panic caused them to perceive the structure offered more safety than passing through it to the outside. In cases such as these, blinders were a good thing, designed to save their life, but spiritual blinders applied to men are designed to destroy life.
Moreover, men are not animals, but one cannot overlook the obvious parallel here. Needed are personal, spiritual and moral blinders to evil, and opened eyes to truth. After all, the human mind is only good when it is as an operating parachute: OPEN! It is not unusual to hear men who aspire to high places of judgment vow to keep an open mind on matters that come before them. God can speak to an open mind, but Satan wants a blinder on as many as possible: he succeeds too often.
Jesus addressed this problem in Revelation, chapter three. He enjoined the church at Laodicea, and the rest of us as well, to apply eye salve that they might see: namely, the Word of God. Disseminating the Word then is practical application of eye salve that the Holy Spirit will use to instill true sight. It may be called salt, or light, or eye salve. It is the precious Word that is light and life to those who walk in darkness. Furthermore, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ remains under the obligation of the Great Commission, and the joy of seeing should be more than enough to induce Christians to open their storehouses of knowledge to others in need of what they know and have, even if it should be in the face of criticism and opposition.
Heaven’s knowledge is true. The hope it instills is more valuable than all the world could ever offer. Uniquely, these things were procured, and are offered in and by the Lord, Jesus, the Christ. The truly good news to a sin burdened world is that He may be had by faith. “I once was blind, but now I see!”

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LOOKING FOR ANTICHRIST


(In The Wrong Direction)

William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

From the days of the Great Depression in the 1930s to the late 1940s following WWII, life changed very little in the tiny village of my birth. Most folks did well to eek out a living from truck patch gardening, and harvesting the products of milk cows, hogs, and chickens. Many worked in local strip coal mining that abounded in Sebastian County, Arkansas. However, the Bible was largely held in high esteem, and a fearful looking for of Antichrist was widespread. One major problem with that was they were looking for Antichrist in all the wrong directions.
The war caused rationing of goods and services needed for its support. Then, it was not uncommon to experience rationing stamps of sugar, gasoline, and auto parts to being named the “Mark of the Beast” produced by Antichrist. The next cry was over social security numbers.
Also, in those days, and especially in that place, there was no comprehension of Biblical heresy beyond the sawdust and tent meetings of holiness type folks with their so called speaking in tongues. The inroads of universalism, and ecumenism were unknown. So, was the vast importance of the Lord’s New Testament Church, and the role it must play in the heat of the last days. With cornfield plowing, circuit-riding preachers every first or fourth Sunday, and focus largely restricted to getting folks saved, the religious comfort zone of the times was largely undisturbed. Of course, this is the recall of a child growing up during those days.
The term “Antichrist” is found several times in the epistles of John. He emphasized that “. . . even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” I John 2:18.
To John in his day, it was the denial that Jesus was the Christ, and that He had come. That and kindred denials has grown exponentially. It is enlightening to consider that “Christ” is a Greek work transliterated rather than translated into English. It means “Anointed.” In the New Testament, two entities have been anointed: the Head of the body, and the body of the Head. That is: Jesus, the head of His body, the church, was anointed by the Holy Spirit at His baptism. It was appropriate then that His body which He put together in His earthly ministry should also be anointed if it is to carry on and represent Him throughout the age. That anointing of the body occurred at Pentecost, Act 2.
Therefore, counterfeit churches that oppose the teachings of the faith once delivered to the saints are in fact antichrist meaning those that are against the teachings and work of the anointed body. Folks of a generation ago were right to look for the work of Antichrist, but most of them were looking in the wrong direction. If the apostle John were to return to the 21st Century, I wonder how he would describe the myriad of anti-anointed or antichrists, presently. They abound as prophesied!

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